So I’m not the most gifted DIY guy ever. If you asked me to put a shelf up, I’d go 'Uhhhh' and then run away - I can just about paint and have hung up the occasional picture. Because of this I’ve never felt the need to buy a toolbox. I just kind of buy tools depending on the task at hand. My tool collection consists of a hammer, a screwdriver and some pliers.
You can have a toolbox with all-sorts of different devices in them but what is important is whether you need to use them. Electric drills and chainsaws look fun but I’m not planning on going ‘lumberjacking’ anytime soon.
As human beings we have our own ‘toolbox,’ with different tools in them. For example, there may be a situation we face where we want to use our ‘friends’ tool and seek their help and advice in a challenging situation. We might take out the Parent’s tool when we need a shoulder to cry on or some guidance.
What’s really interesting is that when we are facing times of challenge or struggle, we forget the most important tool in the toolbox… the Prayer tool. Jesus is the all-rounder, the perfect one to trust in our times of challenge, yet all to often we leave him at the bottom of the box.
I can honestly say that when all else is taken away, all I’m left with in times of struggle is Jesus, and he is always the perfect one to trust in. He always leads us out of difficult times, and to push the analogy as far as it will go, he is the ultimate DIY guy; He lived the human life and knows exactly how to relate to us in all areas of life. That’s not to say that we can’t share trying times with our friends, parents or others but we have an underlying support who will be there for us no matter what the situation.
So I’ll leave you with this thought, who’s in your toolbox? Do you need to add Jesus to the list of useful people who walk with you in life?
To the people - the good and the evil. To the soldier, the civilian, the martyr, the victim, the prophet, the liar, the honest and the leader.
When I heard about the terrorist attacks in Paris I was shocked - I just sat in my bed and wept. I wept with all the people who lost someone and all the people who had witnessed these terrible things. I was also amazed by how the world responded: The pictures of all the landmarks and buildings in the colours of the French flag. I think that this is what we need to do; Show unity and strength as we support each other in every way possible.
I am a Christian. So I started to pray. I prayed for all the victims, all the injured, all the children, all the families. And one thing that is written in the bible came to my mind. It says: “Jesus wept." He is weeping with us now.
During the day I checked my phone to stay up to date. As amazed as I was by the all support, I was shocked by all the hate. You can ́t fight hate with hate - that is like fighting darkness with darkness. You fight darkness with light and so you fight hate with love. We are all the same and we all stand together. We have to show strength. We should pray for the world. Pray for the victims and the attackers. And if we feel like we are not strong enough we can run to God and ask him for help.
Just keep praying for Paris and the world. There was no time when we needed it more.
I was taught that you should buy the best tools that you can afford, and that you ought to look after them. It's advice that has helped me make some wise decisions when it's come to tools, toys and trade and it's also good advice that has stopped me from getting stung in the wallet.
More often than not, whether you are buying a claw hammer or a car the right option for me has been somewhere between the dangerously inexpensive and the laughably overpriced. On the one hand; when you buy cheap, you'll end up buying twice.
On the other; you don't want to fork out a four figure sum for a burger - there comes a point where prices becomes an absurd exercise in proving you have more money than common sense.
In my job, I get to make some pretty big decisions when it comes to money: I'm responsible for forecasting my yearly budgets for the different groups and events I plan, I have my part to play when it comes to fundraising. I also have to make sure that any money I spend is spent wisely because it has all come from charitable sources who believe that the work we do is important and want to support it.
As part of plans to expand the work The Wave Youth does with young musicians I splashed out on an electro-accoustic bass guitar. As the teams resident bassist (I can count to 4 and can't quite master 6 strings) I was hesitant to make this purchase for two reasons: Firstly every acoustic bass I have ever played has been utterly rubbish. They are always far to quiet unplugged and if you're going to run the thing through an amp you might as well buy a proper electric bass. Secondly, this guitar was brand new and came in at under £100. While the scots blood within my veins rejoiced at the low, low price - there was no way this cheap-tar was going to match up to the sound or tone of a more expensive model.
Truth be told, I've been utterly blown away by how good this instrument is. I've not been able to put it down for more than an hour since it arrived! The action, while a little high, is fast and smooth. It has a warm, rich tone that matches the volume of the acoustic guitar I've been jamming along with in its field test. The only issue with the bass is a little fret-buzz on the 3rd fret that a quarter turn adjustment of a truss rod ought to fix.
At the end of the day, anything is only worth as much as somebody is willing to pay for it. Occasionally you can find a real bargain, other times you can feel pretty ripped off.
The reason I ignored the voice in my head saying that anything that cheap had to sound cheap and made this purchase were because of the reviews that other shoppers left the product. Other musicians saying how impressed they where, other bassists talking about how good the sound was, beginners talking about how easy it was to learn on and experts talking about how to sort out the common 3rd fret fret-buzz issue that seems to accompany this particular product.
I saw that other people had tried out the product. They'd put their wallet to the test and not been disappointed and I in turn put my faith in their findings and the merchandise.
Sometimes we don't see how much something is truly worth because we're too busy looking at the price tag someone has already assigned to it. There's not a lot of difference between the £500 pair of jeans or the ones that go for £25. Sometimes we do that with people. We see marks and dents, we hear the fret-buzz and the low value that others place on them and just assume that they can't be worth much when God has already said you are worth everything, that you are made in his image, to be like him and reflect his goodness in our lives.
Whether you feel like a £2,500 Taylor guitar or a battered, nylon-stringed, charity shop classic - when God looks at you he sees his handiwork, someone who is fearfully and wonderfully made.
This article contains spoilers for ‘Captain America’ and ‘Captain America - The Winter Soldier’
As you may know, I am a Marvel-Fangirl. So when my new flatmate told me he has never watched any of the marvel movies before, I knew I had do something about it.
Last Friday night we watched ‘Captain America – The Winter Soldier’, which is my favorite movie. I am fascinated by the friendship between Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier).
Steve and Bucky were born before World War II and fought together in the US army. Through genetic experimentation Steve became the super soldier Captain America, whereas Bucky met his fate falling from a moving train. Later, in order to save the world, Steve crashed the plane he was piloting and was plunged into the Arctic Ocean where he was frozen in the ice. He was found in our time and joined “The Avengers”.
But Bucky was found, too. Closer to death than life, but still alive, he was brainwashed by the enemy and trained to become a deadly assassin. Between his missions he was put in a cryogenic state, that stopped him from ageing.
The film ‘Captain America – The Winter Soldier’ sees the two men meet each other again. Bucky is unable to remember his old friend because of the brain washing he has undergone. Steve on the other hand is shocked when he finds out what become of his old friend and he wants him back.
There is a crucial scene set at the films climax: Steve and Bucky are fighting each other aboard the crashing helicarrier, everything is exploding and a metal support clamps Bucky to the craft. Steve doesn’t hesitate to save his old friend. Even though Bucky has shot at him just a few seconds ago, Steve starts to talk to his friend and refuses to fight him, simply repeating that Bucky knows him and that he is his friend.
Bucky screams and continues to punch Steve, but Steve never gives up - he believes in his friend. Bucky flies into a rage and when Steve’s shield drops, he won’t relent but continues to beat on him. “You are my mission!” he screams when forced to pause for breath.
Steve simply responds: “Then finish it. Because I ́m with you, ‘till the end of the line.”
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a friend like this? Who is with you ́till the end of the line, who would sacrifice himself in order to rescue you - not even sure if you wanted to be rescued. A friend who believes in you, even after you disowned him, a friend who knows who you are, in the times when you don ́t even know who you are.
The bible tells us about a person who offers all this for you. He sacrificed himself and died for you. He knew you even before you were born and he has counted the very hairs on your head. He knows you and cares for you even if you don ́t know him or don ́t want to know him. He knows everything about you, the good things and the bad. He cares for you and he wants you to be on his side.
Who is this person? It ́s Jesus, he died for you 2,000 years ago. He died, because we decided to live without him. He died because of our failures, whatever they are. But he didn’t stay dead. He rose from the grave and wants you to be his friend and on his side. He offers
you forgiveness. And he offers you eternal life in joy with him.
And in return he promises you something. He says in Matthew chapter 28 verse 20: “I am with you always even to the end of the age.” But you have to decide. Do you want to be on his side? Or do you want to stay where you are, missing the greatest opportunity you ever had?
Bucky made his decision. After the burning helicarrier exploded and Steve was thrown into the water, he chose to save him because he remembered who he belongs to. If you don ́t know where you are, don ́t be afraid to ask us. We will be there for you. Just contact us or visit one of our clubs. We are here for you.
I am amazed by the friendship of Bucky and Steve. But this is just a fictional friendship. That ́s why I am even more amazed by Jesus and that he loves me.
When you're 6'6" it's pretty hard to blend into the crowd and this has it's obvious ups and downs (ho ho):
The strangest thing about being tall is (despite it being totally genetic and out of my control) people seem to chalk it up as some kind of personal achievement and congratulate me on my obvious efforts to become really long.
Strangers also seem to think that they have some sort of innate right to comment on my height and talk about me within ear shot.
Somewhere there is a photo of 8-12 South Americans at a Pearl Jam gig having their photo taken with the Giant Smiling European.
I am generally used to all of this, but the feeling of standing out, being different or new can still be unnerving even as I approach my 30's.
About 530 years B.C. When Daniel was around 15 years old his city Jerusalem, the capital of Israel was assaulted, besieged and conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. This was a man whose foreign policy made Tony Blair and George Bush look like the kind of people you'd take to Iran for a picnic.
Whilst in Babylon, Daniel and his fellow kidnapped, war-torn Israelites were effectively brainwashed: they were taught a new language and told to serve new god's, taught to think differently, dress differently, eat differently and forget everything they had been taught back home. They were even given new names... not too different to turning up for your first day as a year 7 or sitting your A Levels.
Despite everything being set against him and living with the people who massacred your people - Daniel nailed his colours to the mast choosing to stand out, not just as an Israelite but as a follower of God - even if it meant putting his neck on the line.
There is an overwhelming temptation to keep our heads down, keep our mouths shut and keep our faith private but when you live your life on mute, more concerned with blending in than standing out you lead a life of little to no impact or consequence.
My Facebook feed is a right mix of dross and gold. One of my friends is posting a daily countdown until the new Star Wars film comes out on my wall which is kind of funny until you realise there are 167 more near identical posts to come. Every. Single. Day.
A lot of us use social media to keep in touch, share news, store photos and post the occasional dank meme.
Others use it as their personal PR firm letting you see a Pinterest version of their life where every day is sunny, the good times keep rolling and every meal is an Instagram worthy stroke of culinary genius #torrentialrain #notreallylikethat #actuallyjustbeansontoastmate
Our self worth is affected by three closely related sources: How we see ourselves, how we think other people see us and how other people really do see us.
Check this video out:
I found some of that hard to watch, folks can be pretty grim - particularly when protected by the anonymity that the Internet provides.
The point? That we can spend forever trying to attain or pretend to have attained some level of perfection but unless we recognise the value we have simply for being human, for being you and made in God's image to reflect some of his wonder then your self worth is always going to be like trying to catch the wind.
My faith confronts me with my flaws and my weaknesses, God's holiness can leave me feeling pretty small, but they always lead me to Jesus who shows me that I was still worth dying for.
So, to finish as I started; What do you see and whose voice do you listen to?